Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 29, 2004

108582539702156170

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:08 pm

Doc: Our blood supply is safe

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a safe blood supply but risky donors continue to test the system, said National Blood Centre director Dr Yasmin Ayob.

“Malaysia is one of the countries that puts safe blood supply as a priority and it has attained international standards as far as making our donated blood safe,” she said yesterday.

Donated blood is currently screened for four diseases – HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and syphilis.

Safe blood is defined as that which is not contaminated by viruses, parasites, drugs, alcohol or other material that could endanger a recipient.

“Only safe donors should donate blood,” she added.

Contaminated blood, which constituted about 2.5% of donated blood, came from risky blood donors such as injecting drug users or those with multiple sex partners, said Dr Yasmin.

She appealed to such people not to donate blood and not to use the donation process to get a free blood test.

“A few of them who come to donate are actually coming to see if they are infected with hepatitis or HIV. Maybe it’s easier than going to a doctor and having to answer uncomfortable questions.

“If a positive reading is found, we send them letters asking them to report to the bank so that we can run another test. But they don’t respond. Then they turn up at another place as donors and we send them another letter. This is irritating and uses up a lot of our time. It’s a problem throughout the country,” she said.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the World Blood Donor Day set for June 14, Dr Yasmin said that the National Blood Centre’s ongoing programmes among the youth appear to have borne fruit as the bulk of donors are aged between 20 and 25. One third of all blood donors are students, she said.

Last year, 98,936 people donated blood at the centre and mobile units, up from 96,673 in 2002.

Dr Yasmin said that the inaugural worldwide celebration was introduced to thank individuals who voluntarily donated blood without reward.

“The focus is on youth because we need a continuous supply of blood. We need healthy people to donate blood,” she said.

The inaugural World Blood Donor Day celebration at the centre will be attended by Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.

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